New webinar series on HR compliance for small businesses

New webinar series on HR compliance for small businesses

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New webinar series on HR compliance for small businesses

example flexible working arrangement

From next month, we will be running free monthly webinars specifically designed to assist small to medium businesses in understanding their legal obligations as employers and to provide them with guidance on how to manage those obligations in practice. We are doing this because we are going through the biggest period of change in employment laws, modern awards and compliance requirements ever and that is further complicating what is already an extremely complex obligation for business owners and employers . There are seven sessions running from May to November.

The first of these webinars (on Tuesday 21 May 2024 from 10.30 to 11.15) is about all of the changes that are happening in the Fair Work Act, modern awards and other legislation….there are around 70 changes over a period of 3 years. See our video with the timeline on all of these changes: https://ridgelinehr.com.au/navigating-the-biggest-era-of-change-in-hr-ever/

Unfortunately, there is a lot of noise out there about changes that have little if any impact and lack of clarity about the ones that do. We’ll cut through the noise and tell you what matters and what you should do about it. Book in for free at https://www.trybooking.com/CQQHD or via the QR code in the image.

The subsequent webinars are:

  • Episode #2: Tuesday 18 June 2024: Understanding the Fair Work system and the players
  • Episode #3: Tuesday 16 July 2024: What do these new positive duties mean for SMBs?
  • Episode #4: Tuesday 20 August 2024: What are National Employment Standards? 
  • Episode #5: Tuesday 17 September 2024: What are modern awards and how do they work?
  • Episode #6: Tuesday 15 October 2024: What are psychosocial hazards and how to deal with them?
  • Episode #7: Tuesday 19 November 2024: Preventing sexual harassment and gender-based behaviours

If you have any questions that you need answered urgently, please contact us on 1300 108 488 or at enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

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Long Service Leave Schemes

Long Service Leave Schemes

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Long Service Leave Schemes

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Long service leave is a mandatory entitlement for all employees (in most states) under the Fair Work Act and recognises an employee’s continuous service to an organisation or industry over a long period of time. There are however a few different schemes that apply to long service leave, we’ll run through them here.

LONG SERVICE LEAVE SCHEMES

State/Territory based legislation

Each state has their own legislation regarding long service leave. Under state based legislation an employee receives long service leave after working for a single employer or company for a certain amount of time. There are however significant ways in which the legislations and entitlements vary by state including the following ways;

  • How long an employee must work continuously with one employer to accrue long service leave
  • How much leave an employee is able to take after working with one employer for the minimum amount of time
  • How much leave is accrued
  • What employees are eligible for long service leave
  • How the leave is taken
  • What happens with the leave when an employee leaves the company

As an example to the above Victoria allows employees to access long service leave after 7 years whereas in Queensland you can’t access it until you reach 10 years with your employer. When you are an employee in South Australia you receive 13 weeks of long service leave after 10 years compared to 8.67 weeks in Western Australia over the same amount of time.

Portable long service leave

In some industries the Victorian Government has introduced Portable Long Service Leave Schemes by legislation in lieu of the standard long service leave provisions that apply. Portable Long Service Leave works by employers paying a quarterly levy based on how many days their employees worked in that quarter, as long as the employee stays in the industry then when they reach 7 years service they can apply for long service leave through the fund rather than the employer.

Portable Long Service Leave is mandatory in every state for the Building and Construction industry and it is also mandatory on a state by state basis for the Contract Cleaning, Security, and Community Services industries. Visit the following site to check whether you are required to enrol your employees in a Portable Long Service Leave Scheme – https://www.ausleave.com.au

DID YOU KNOW?

Here are a couple of the things you may not be aware of regarding Long Service Leave:

  • In Victoria you are required to consider any allowances and benefits that make up an employees “ordinary pay” when paying out long service leave, this can include commissions and amounts relating to a vehicle use.
  • In general you are not allowed to pay out long service leave without the employee taking the period of leave, and if you allow them to do that you business may be prosecuted. There is one exception to this however. In Queensland you may “cash out”  long service leave under an industrial instrument or via application to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

If you need any assistance with anything mentioned please check you State Governments web page regarding Long Service Leave or if you need further assistance please give us a call on 1300 108 488.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Is an enterprise agreement the answer?

Is an enterprise agreement the answer?

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Is an enterprise agreement the answer?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could simplify compliance with modern awards and related matters?

If you could tailor content to your workplace?

If you could have everyone on the same terms of employment?

Guess what – you can do all of those things and more in an enterprise agreement.

What is an enterprise agreement?

An enterprise agreement is an agreement made between an employer and a group of employees on wages and conditions of employment for that group of employees.

They can be made with all or some employees in a particular enterprise and have to be approved by the Fair Work Commission.

They can incorporate modern awards that have application to the group of employees or they can exclude those modern awards, totally replacing them.

How are they made?

The process starts with the issue of a Notice of Representational Rights which informs the employees concerned that their employer wants to make an enterprise agreement and that they have the right to be represented in negotiation of that agreement.

Employees nominate one or more people to represent them and they can nominate themselves if they wish to.

If an employee is a member of a union, the union has default bargaining rights unless that employee nominates someone else as their bargaining representative.

The employer and employee representatives then develop a draft agreement and, when it has got to stage where there is a reasonable level of confidence that people are OK with it, a vote of employees is organised.

If a majority of the employees who vote, vote in favour of it, it is approved subject to certification by the Fair Work Commission.

What happens at the Fair Work Commission?

A copy of the signed agreement together with an Application to Approve an Enterprise Agreement (Form F16) and a Statutory Declaration (Form F17) and various other documents are filed with the Fair Work Commission.

The Commissioner who deals with it is then primarily concerned with the following questions:

  1. Whether the Agreement satisfies the Better Off Overall Test i.e. employees are better off under the Agreement than they would be under the relevant modern award(s).
  2. Whether the group of people covered by the agreement does not unfairly exclude other employees and
  3. Whether the Agreement has been fairly made i.e. the correct process has been followed, people have been properly consulted, prescribed timelines observed and people have been properly informed about the effects of making the Agreement on their wages and terms of employment before they voted on it

If the Commissioner has any concerns, an undertaking might be required or submissions might be invited for consideration.

Once the Commissioner can answer “yes” to the 3 questions noted above, the Agreement can be formally approved and legally takes effect from 7 days after the date of that approval.

Reasons for doing an enterprise agreement

There are a variety of very good reasons that might apply depending on the particular award coverage and the circumstances of the business. These include:

  1. Simplification: modern awards try to cover whole industries or particular occupations across multiple industries and we often find that much of the content in modern awards has little or any relevance to particular businesses. So we can trim it back to what is relevant.
  2. Flexibility: all modern awards have Individual Flexibility Clauses which allow some flexibility with existing employees in a limited range of matters and Facilitative Provisions which also allow some room for negotiation on some things. However, they won’t necessarily provide the sorts of flexibilities that employees might want and the employer is happy to offer and that can be addressed through an enterprise agreement.
  3. Customisation: modern awards are largely a one size fits all approach and we know that one size doesn’t fit all. For example, classification structures in modern awards are often difficult to apply to a particular business because they lack definition or they just don’t make sense. In most cases, they were developed decades ago and really don’t take account of technological and other changes to the way we work and the skills that we use today. If you pay people sufficiently above award, you can make your own structure that makes sense for your business and your people.
  4. Fairness: some modern awards have specific provisions which are just unfair for employer and employees. For example, modern awards which have Industry Specific Redundancy provisions allow an employee who resigns after at least one year’s service to receive a redundancy payment of up to 8 weeks while an employee who is retrenched after more than 5 years’ service gets less under the modern award than they would under the National Employment Standards that apply to most other employees. With an enterprise agreement, you can put everyone on the same footing with things like that.
  5. Protection: for some businesses, having an enterprise agreement of your own offers protection from coercion to enter into an enterprise agreement with a union which would force you to pay your workers at major project rates on all of the work that you do. That can make your business uncompetitive for other work. If you are in such an industry and have a non-unionised workforce who are happy to be that way, your own enterprise agreement can help you to get the right balance in paying higher rates on major project work and at lower levels on other work. Equally, a head contactor on a major project would likely want your business to have an enterprise agreement so as to avoid industrial relations disruptions to the project. All enterprise agreements are published on the Fair Work Commission’s website and you can use that to publicly demonstrate your employer value proposition to prospective employees because it is locked in by law.

Conclusions

The process for making an enterprise agreement is complicated and the Fair Work Commission’s approach to them is complex. Additionally, individual Commissioners can have their own way of dealing with them.

That means that you do need professional assistance in developing and implementing one and we can assist with that. Equally, if any of the scenarios described above fit your business situation, it can be a very worthwhile exercise that can deliver real positive change in workplace flexibility, fairness
and employee engagement.

If any of this is of interest to you, take advantage of our free first consultation to explore your options and how we can help.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

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TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

A message from our Practice Leader

A message from our Practice Leader

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A message from our Practice Leader

WorkSafe infringement

Our long-time and valued Associate, Chris White, has retired effective from 30 June 2021.

Chris has been assisting Ridgeline HR clients and Civil Contractors Federation members with enterprise agreement making and sundry other workplace relations matters since 2014.

Chris has been a great member of the team – we enjoyed a great relationship and shared values based on trust and mutual respect. I can’t recall us having a serious difference in the 7 years that he worked with Ridgeline HR nor in our prior dealings when he was CEO of the Civil Contractors Federation National Office and Ridgeline HR was his workplace relations advisor.

Chris’s extensive knowledge of the civil construction industry has been of enormous value to us over the years as has been his engaging manner, strong work ethic and excellent relationship management skills.

So thank you, Chris, for all that you have done for us and please take with you our best wishes for your happy and healthy retirement. I know the grandchildren, the boat and the golf clubs beckon along with a bit of travel when you are able to do that.

We will miss you.

To our clients, if you are one of those who used Chris’s services, please be assured that we can continue to provide you with everything that Chris looked after and more.

Happily, last year, my son Liam joined the business and is now taking on some of the work that Chris did as well as our Workplace Relations Compliance
Assessments.

We are looking forward to a very busy time ahead as we roll out more new services and continue to provide and build on our traditional workplace relations and generalist HR offerings.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Maguire
Practice Leader
Ridgeline HR

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Family Business – Developing the next generation

Family Business – Developing the next generation

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Family Business – Developing the next generation

It is not easy running a business today and neither is raising a family. So what happens when you are trying to do both in the family business?
Many Ridgeline HR clients are family businesses and many of them hope that their businesses will prosper through successive generations of the family.
But the reality is that that isn’t easy to achieve – the competing pressures of business and family responsibilities often prove too much and can be damaging not only to the business but also to family relationships.

Some of the more common scenarios that we have come across are:

  • A family member enters the business for the wrong reasons – because they think that is expected of them or because mum and dad feel that they will not be able to succeed outside the business, so they need to provide a job and a livelihood;
  • Senior family members want to retire but don’t think that their successors are ready to take the next step and manage the business in their absence;
  • Junior family members who want to take that next step are frustrated by senior managers’ reluctance to “hand over the reins”;
  • Senior family members are reluctant to scale down their active business involvement or retire because work plays such an important part in their lives;
  • A family member’s work performance or behaviour is not up to scratch but is not addressed properly creating perceptions of nepotism and resultant disengagement and performance deterioration of other staff.

While each of these situations represents a real and often painful dilemma for the family business and family members, they can be prevented or resolved with proper planning, a degree of objectivity, a strong set of values and a bit of help.

So what do you need to do?

When you have a family member entering the business:

  1. Ensure that the new entrant understands that, while they will be supported and have every chance to succeed, they are subject to the same performance and development processes and expectations as all employees;
  2. Make it clear that there is no obligation to work in the business and you are happy to support them in another career direction if that is what they want to do;
  3. Find and appoint a non-family mentor for them – someone to whom they can go to confidentially discuss and get guidance on any questions, concerns or ideas that they have;
  4. Be clear on their strengths – both technical strengths (what I can do) and character strengths (how I best operate);
  5. Develop a Personal Plan which provides the opportunity for the new entrant to explore different work opportunities in the business and, at the same time, learn how the business works;
  6. Actively support the new entrant as they learn and continuously coach them, monitor their wellbeing and provide feedback to them – in this process, you should be discussing and sorting out which areas of the business/roles, the family member is showing capability in and which might not be a fit for them.

When you have been through all of that, you and the new family entrant should have a pretty good idea on whether working in the business is right for them and for you and be able to develop a career plan accordingly – whether that is in the business or elsewhere.

It may be that the family member has shown a talent that offers great career potential in a different industry setting or that warrants investment in studies of some sort. Perhaps getting a bit of experience in another business or role before returning to the business would have benefits.

Of course, sometimes there is just not a fit and that can be a challenging conversation. If you are unable to reach agreement or there is a dispute of some sort or you need help with one of those conversations, be prepared to get some independent help – someone who can sit down with the parties and facilitate discussions to an agreed resolution.

If you need help

Go and find people who are a good cultural fit with your business and can provide services that can help you in the following areas:

  • Facilitating planning discussions and developing program plans which address, roles, relationships, values and behaviour, strengths and wellbeing.
  • Coaching for business owners in the coaching of junior family members in the business
  • Assisting with resolution of any performance issues or disagreements that might arise
  • Ensuring that the business has appropriate policies and procedures to support management of family members in the business.

We do all of that stuff so we’re happy to have the conversation about how we can help.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Fantastic funding opportunity for cultural change

Fantastic funding opportunity for cultural change

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Fantastic funding opportunity for cultural change

We made a great discovery a little while back – it is an organisation called ShareTree based here in Melbourne. They have developed a wonderful platform and toolkit for changing organisational culture through a unique deployment of positive psychology practices.

If you are interested in:

  • Building a high performance culture
  • Optimising your people’s wellbeing and
  • Developing a better and psychologically safe workplace

You should take a dive into ShareTree.

The Victorian Government has – they see the potential for ShareTree to have a really positive impact on mental health via psychologically safe workplaces. To that end, they are offering up to 90% funding of ShareTree programs through Culture, Safety and Wellbeing Grants.

The first round of applications close at the end of February so get in fast if you are interested.

Want to know more?

See the flyer: ShareTree – Culture, Safety & Wellbeing Grants v1.2

Give Peter Maguire a call on 0438 533 311 or email him at peter@ridgelinehr.com.au

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH